The start of the new season is almost here, and what better way to kick it off than with a home game against one of the newly promoted sides. US Cremonese haven’t been seen in Serie A since 1996, a club who during the Eighties and Nineties spent a total of six seasons in the top tier. Fiorentina were missing for one of those campaigns, after their relegation in 1993, but in the five seasons we did meet, Cremonese never managed a single win against the Viola.
Italian football, of course, didn’t begin in the Eighties, and with a club who began playing the game in 1910, their first meeting with Fiorentina goes back to just before the arrival of the Serie A championship. The first Serie A season came in 1929/30 but unfortunately Fiorentina would not be a part of the debut campaign. For a club only in existence three years at the time, this wasn’t a major surprise, but they had been given a good chance to be there.
With Mussolini’s Fascist government keen to see a championship involving clubs from the whole of Italy, the football authorities had just a few seasons to make the necessary changes. Up to now the league had been run on a regional basis, with the latter championships divided into north and south.
In order to finally see a proper Serie A and Serie B in 1929, the season before brought an increase in the number of clubs competing in the Divisione Nazionale. That 1928/29 campaign consisted of two groups of 16 teams, and the top eight in each group would go on to take part in the first Serie A championship the following season, the next six would go into Serie B, with the bottom two dropping into the third tier.
Cremonese had already been competing in the top tier for the previous decade while Fiorentina only had two seasons under its belt in the second tier. Allowed into the final running of the Divisione Nazionale, having finished second in their group the previous season, they found themselves in Group B. This saw them up against the likes of Juventus, Bologna, Ambrosiana (Inter), Lazio, Napoli, along with Cremonese.
It was a disastrous start for Fiorentina, losing their opening six games. Those defeats included the humiliating 11-0 loss at Juventus, a 7-2 mauling at Napoli having taken the lead, and a 4-0 defeat to Lazio. When Cremonese came to the Stadio Velodromo Libertas in Via Bellini for the first time on Day 12 of the season, Fiorentina had just two points on the board after ten defeats. Cremonese, meanwhile, were in the top five, 12 points ahead of the Viola.
The game took place on Sunday January 6th, after the league had taken a break the week before. This had nothing to do with giving the players a rest over the Christmas/New Year period, but to allow clubs take part in friendly games against visiting foreign teams. It had become something of a regular event, with clubs from Hungary, Austria and Czechoslovakia especially, coming to Italy for a winter tour.
It wasn’t quite a full strength Cremonese team which lined out against Budai 33, a team from the Hungarian capital, but they did manage a 2-2 draw, having taken a two-goal lead. On the same day, Fiorentina welcomed another team from Budapest, Újpest, a game which would bring about the Viola’s famous purple jerseys. It may be memorable for that fact, but the rest of the event was as disappointing as Fiorentina’s season had been to date, with the Hungarians coming away with a 6-0 win.
The following week, a Fiorentina side with several injury problems, took to the field against Cremonese. Another defeat was expected, but by half time the Viola had taken a two-goal lead. The opening goal came from Pisa born midfielder Zelante Salvatorini, who had played for Libertas before they had joined forces with Club Sportivo to become Fiorentina. Camillo Silingardi doubled the lead, his only goal for the club, and at just 22-years-old when the season ended, in July he died of a viral illness.
Cremonese looked stronger after the break, but only found the net with ten minutes left to play. In a crowded penalty area, the ball came off Fiorentina defender Giovanni Borgato, and although keeper Mario Sernagiotto got his hand to the ball it was judged to have already crossed the line. Fiorentina did hang on though, to claim just their second win of the season. It didn’t bring about much of a change in the club’s results unfortunately, suffering some more heavy defeats including 5-0 losses at Brescia and Pro Vercelli, a 4-0 home defeat to Juventus and a 7-0 drubbing at Genoa.
When Fiorentina travelled to Cremona at the end of May close to the end of the season, they had just managed to climb off the bottom of the table. A 3-0 win over Fiumana the week before seeing them move a point ahead of Reggiana, while Cremonese were still in the top half of the table. At the Stadio Giovanni Zini, the Viola were just 1-0 down at the break, with the home side needing a penalty to take the lead. After the break, it was a tired looking Fiorentina which collapsed as Cremonese scored five more goals to wrap up a 6-0 win. Fiorentina lost their three remaining games to finish bottom of the group, but some changes to the numbers taking part the following season saved the Viola from the third-tier demotion and they were placed in Serie B. Cremonese’s seventh place finish meant they would continue to play in the top tier.
That 1929/30 season proved just as disastrous for Cremonese as the previous season had been for Fiorentina. With just four wins in their 34 games, they finished bottom of Serie A and were relegated to Serie B. This would see Fiorentina and Cremonese meet again, and this is also where they would part ways. Cremonese came back to Florence in November 1930, and after six games of the season played, Fiorentina were in second place just a point behind Bari, with Cremonese three points adrift of the Viola.
Fortunato Baldinotti opened the scoring to put Fiorentina ahead after just four minutes with Antonio Moretti doubling the lead before the break. Baldinotti struck again 20 minutes after the interval, and while Pietro Camisaschi pulled a goal back seven minutes later, Fiorentina had done enough, and the 3-1 win kept them in touch with Bari who had beaten Pistoiese.
When Fiorentina travelled to Cremona in April, the Viola were still a point behind the leaders. This time the top spot was held by Palermo, and Fiorentina had beaten the leaders in Florence the week before to close the gap and were also level on points with Bari and Atalanta. Cremonese were five points behind the trio of clubs who sat in second place. A scoreless draw with Cremonese did allow Fiorentina to move a point ahead of Bari and Atalanta who had both lost, but they slipped to two points behind Palermo after their 6-0 win over Liguria.
A strong end to the season by the Viola saw them take over at the top, and they finished level on points with Bari as both teams won promotion to Serie A. Cremonese ended the season in seventh place, five points behind Fiorentina, and the fortunes of both clubs went in opposite directions, and it would be over 50 years before they would meet again.
Although Fiorentina did drop down to Serie B for one season in 1938, Cremonese had already fallen to Serie C, and in 1969 they went as low as Serie D. While the Seventies saw them spend most of the decade in Serie C, with just one appearance in the second tier, it was now a more stable club under the presidency of Domenico Luzzara. One player who began his football in the youth ranks at the club and spent his first four seasons there as a senior player during the Seventies was Cesare Prandelli.
The early eighties brought Serie B football to Cremona for three successive seasons, before finally winning promotion to Serie A in 1984. The manager responsible was Emiliano Mondonico, a man who had begun and ended his playing career at the club. Another person who had a big say in their rise to the top tier was a young Gianluca Vialli, from Cremona, his ten goals made him the club’s highest scorer in that promotion season, before he moved on to Sampdoria.
For their arrival in Serie A the club signed two foreign players for the first time. Władysław Żmuda was a Polish international who had arrived in third place with the Poland team at two World Cups. Along with Boniek, he was the first Polish arrival in Italian football, when he joined Verona in 1982. He arrived with the season already started. Juary was a Brazilian forward, who had arrived in Italy back in 1980 when Serie A reopened its doors to foreign players. Before joining Mondonico’s Cremonese he had played with Avellino, Inter, and Ascoli.
When Fiorentina travelled to Cremona at the start of December, the newcomers were already struggling. Having lost the previous six games in a row they were bottom of the table with just three points after ten games. Fiorentina had gone four games without a win, which left them in sixth place alongside four other clubs, seven points ahead of Cremonese and seven points behind the league leaders Verona. Żmuda had arrived in Cremona but had yet to be given clearance to play meaning he would not make his expected debut against Fiorentina. Instead, he would head off to join up with the Polish national team at Coverciano where they were preparing for a friendly game with Italy the following Saturday in Pescara.
With Giancarlo Antognoni out injured for the season, Fiorentina had brought in the Brazilian midfielder Sócrates. In what would prove to be a disappointing season for the new signing, he did manage to rescue a point at Cremona. Mondonico’s side were the better team that day and took a deserved lead seven minutes before the break. Alviero Chiorri played the ball to Giancarlo Finardi, and his first-time left foot shot from outside the area flew past Giovanni Galli to the back of the net.
Cremonese had more than enough chances to finish off a poor Fiorentina. The best of those fell to their Brazilian, Juary, when having beaten the keeper, his shot came back off the post and into the arms of a relived Galli. He also had an earlier opportunity which he shot straight at Galli, and Cremonese would end up paying for these misses. With just four minutes left to play, Pasquale Iachini’s cross from the left side of the area was headed in by the unmarked Sócrates. Mondonico was happy enough to see his side finally gain another point.
Żmuda would captain the Polish side a week later, when they lost 2-0 to Italy, but the following week his permission had still not arrived which saw him mis the home game with Inter. In that game, Cremonese looked to have scored a last-minute equaliser, but the referee decided the ball had not fully crossed the line.
At the half-way point of the season, Fiorentina lost to a Diego Maradona goal against Napoli in Florence. This meant they had now gone nine games without a win and were now in 10th place out of 16 teams. Cremonese were still bottom of the table, with six points, five from safety.
When Mondonico took his side to Florence in April 1985, nothing had improved, and they were still rooted to the bottom eight points behind Avellino outside the relegation zone. Fiorentina were in mid-table, 13 points behind Verona, surprising everyone by maintaining the top spot. The Viola were in fact just four points above the relegation zone. Luckily, they were taking on a team who had lost every single one of their away games to date.
That record looked set to continue when Sócrates gave Fiorentina the lead after 18 minutes, his powerful free kick going straight through the wall. The lead lasted just two minutes. A nice one-two between Marco Nicoletti and Romano Galvani ended with Nicoletti’s shot from outside the area beating Galli. Finardi could have given the visitors the lead, but his effort was just wide of the post, before Fiorentina again found the net but it was ruled out for offside.
Juary replaced Galvani in after the break and he had a late chance to win the game, but Galli made a fine save. The game ended in another 1-1 draw, with Galli admitting after the match that it was Fiorentina who looked like a side fit for Serie B and not Cremonese. While Mondonico’s side left the pitch to applause from the Fiorentina fans, with the Fiesole remaining in silence for the duration of the game.
Afterwards, a large group of fans waited outside the ground to hurl abuse at their own players. Luckily for Fiorentina, Ascoli had drawn with Juventus which meant they hadn’t moved any closer to the drop zone. Cremonese were now seven points from safety, with four games remaining, and while not mathematically relegated, their Serie A adventure was coming to an end.
That point in Florence would remain the only one they managed to gain on their travels that whole season. Surprisingly Fiorentina went to Turin the following week and won away to Juventus, while Cremonese suffered another away defeat. That loss at Inter was the final nail in the coffin, on a weekend which also saw Lazio condemned to Serie B after defeat at Verona who went on to win the Scudetto.
It took Cremonese four seasons to make it back to Serie A, although they came agonisingly close in the 1986/87 season. In a season where they also reached the semi-final of the Coppa Italia, going into the last day of the season they were top of the table. They faced a home game with Pisa who sat just a point behind them, alongside Pescara and Genoa.
With their destiny in their own hands, the day before the game a bad omen began to sow seeds of doubt in the minds of the Cremonese squad. A black cat belonging to the groundsman had been seen pacing up and down in front of the dressing room where the players and manager had gathered.
The club president Luzzara refused to go to the match and would instead follow a ritual he had practiced before the recent win over Parma. Before the game he would go to bed, try to sleep for a couple of hours but would wake up to listen to the second half on the radio. He would then pretend not to know the result until his sporting director Erminio Favalli phoned him after the final whistle.
Cremonese, who had led the league for most of the season, saw their dream of returning to Serie A crushed on a dramatic final day. Pisa took a two-goal lead, the first from a penalty, before Cremonese converted a penalty of their own, Nicoletti’s spot kick pulling it back to 2-1 just before the break. The home side were unable to score in the second half, and as well as Pisa, they were also overtaken by Pescara after their win over Parma. Cremonese were joined on 43 points by both Lecce and Cesena, and now faced a three-way play-off to decide the final promotion place. The disappointment proved too much, and they went on to lost both their games as Cesena took the final spot in Serie A.
Two seasons later and they would need another play-off to finally gain promotion. Again, they could have done it without the dramatic finale but drawing their last two games they were forced into a tie with Reggina to decide who would make it to Serie A. The penultimate game of the season had seen them play a scoreless draw at home to the same opposition, and when they met in Pescara in the play-off neither side could score even after the game went to extra-time. A penalty shoot-out would now be needed, and it was Attilio Lombardo who converted the final spot kick to bring Cremonese back to the top tier. Lombardo, after four seasons at the club, would now, just like Vialli before him, move on to Sampdoria.
Another player who scored for Cremonese in that shoot-out was Riccardo Maspero, a player who would join Fiorentina many years later, moving from Torino to help the club gain promotion from Serie C2. For their return to Serie A, Cremonese brought in an unknown young Swedish midfielder, Anders Limpar, who would go on to play for Arsenal and win the league title there the following season.
When Fiorentina travelled to Cremona on day ten of the 1989/90 season, Cremonese were again in the relegation zone, but a struggling Fiorentina were just one point ahead of them. The Viola had won just two games so far, but the previous week they had beaten Sampdoria 3-1, a game in which both Roberto Baggio and Roberto Mancini scored.
Cremonese had just one win under their belts, but they had gone four games unbeaten, a run which included that win over Milan and a draw with league leaders Napoli. Fiorentina boss Bruno Giorgi was without Dunga, and his starting eleven was an all-Italian side. The other foreign players in the squad, Oscar Dertycia and Luboš Kubík were both left out, although they would both make substitute appearances in the second half. In a game which looked to be heading for a scoreless draw, three goals in six minutes decided the tie.
Marco Nappi struck first in the 73rd minute. Four minutes later Chiorri had Cremonese level, after a pass from Maspero who had replaced Limpar in the opening half. Another 1-1 draw between the sides now looked on the cards, but just two minutes after the equaliser, Stefano Pioli in a crowded area somehow bundled the ball over the line.
After the game he admitted that not even he knew how he had scored, while Cremonese’s keeper Michelangelo Rampulla claimed he had been fouled when Baggio’s free kick came in. However, it was scored, it proved to be the winning goal, and Cremonese remained in the relegation zone. Despite the win, Fiorentina were still just a point away from the danger area after Ascoli defeated Milan.
Fiorentina’s home game with Cremonese in March took place at Arezzo, with the Comunale undergoing work before the World Cup. Cremonese were two points from safety while Fiorentina were two points from the relegation zone. They had lost 3-0 the previous week at Sampdoria, where both Lombardo and Vialli scored. Now their former club was hoping to pile more pressure on the Viola while attempting the great escape themselves.
After just ten minutes both sides were down to ten men, with Nappi and Felice Garzilli seeing red for a bust-up. The Cremonese hero was their reserve keeper Giacomo Violini, at the club since 1985, but when given the chance here he showed his value to the squad with some fine saves from Baggio. The game ended scoreless, a result which satisfied neither side, and even less the Fiorentina fans already protesting against the club owners.
The Pontello family denied the insistent rumours that they would soon be selling the club to Mario Cecchi Gori. There were banners among the Fiorentina fans, asking Pontello to leave, and telling Cecchi Gori that they wanted him as the new owner. The manager Bruno Giorgi and club president Lorenzo Righetti were also targets of abuse from the fans as they boarded the team bus after the game.
After two more defeats and a draw with Cesena, Giorgi was replaced by Francesco Graziani. Fiorentina managed to survive with two wins in their last three games, but Cremonese were unable to save themselves. Two more draws after the Fiorentina game and then a win over Ascoli gave them a real chance of survival but they then lost their four remaining matches to finish second from bottom. Another relegation after just one season in the top tier.
This time it took them just one season to come back up. This was thanks to the best defensive record in Serie B, although they did have one of the worst scoring records with just 28 goals in 38 games. That continued when they failed to score in their opening three games back in Serie A for the 1991/92 season. Fiorentina, meanwhile, with just one win in their opening five games, replaced Lazaroni with Luigi Radice as manager. Mario Cecchi Gori, yes, the rumours had been true, had also brought in a young Argentinian striker Gabriel Batistuta, who had scored in that one win so far, over Genoa. That had come on the second day of the season, but he would need to wait until December and matchday 12 for his next goal.
Batistuta’s second league goal came at Cremona on December 1st, against a Cremonese side with just one win so far and again down in the relegation zone. The first half ended scoreless, with Bati the victim of some nasty fouls. A minute after the break and Fiorentina took the lead. Dunga rolled a free kick across to Alberto Malusci and the defender struck from distance with too much power for Rampulla. The keeper did manage to save a beautiful effort from Batistuta who attempted to float the ball into the top corner from distance, but after the home side created some chances to level the game, Bati doubled the lead. He powered home a header from a Massimo Orlando corner, but ten minutes later Cremonese pulled a goal back.
Massimo Lombardini sent a cross into the Fiorentina area where Gustavo Dezotti headed towards goal, Gianmatteo Mareggini got a hand to it, but the ball fell kindly for Corrado Verdelli who tapped it into the empty net. With fifteen minutes left, Mauro Bonomi’s foul on Batistuta was punished with a second yellow card and Cremonese were down to ten men. Batistuta was in fine form and set up Pietro Maiellaro for the goal which sealed the win in the final moments of the match.
When the sides met again in April, Cremonese were second from bottom and six points from safety, while Fiorentina were in 13th, six points from danger. The game came a week before a threatened strike by Serie A players, announced by Sergio Campana the president of the Italian footballers’ Association. Campana had been in the role since the union began in 1968, and this was the 12th time he had threatened a strike, but none had ever gone ahead.
The club owners were tired of the threats, with Cremonese’s Luzzara declaring “A strike? Let them do it. It’s time for Campana to end this catchphrase of his. I think footballers should play on Sundays because they enjoy it and on Monday they should go to work.” Cecchi Gori seemed to take it a little less seriously saying that these billionaire footballers going on strike was something which made him laugh.
A poor first half saw Cremonese take the lead, Agostino Iacobelli heading past Mareggini after a corner kick. With just over ten minutes left in the game and Cremonese looking like they would leave Florence with two points, Malusci headed home a Stefano Carobbi free kick to save Radice’s Viola.
The strike never happened and Cremonese one just once in the last five games to again make a quick return to Serie B. Fiorentina ended the season in 12th spot, with a ten-point gap over the relegation zone.
The following season, 92-93, brought a shock relegation for Fiorentina despite the arrival of Stefan Effenberg and Brian Laudrup. The sides wouldn’t meet the following season however, as Cremonese had made a quick return to the top flight. Not only that, but they also won the Anglo-Italian Cup, beating Derby County in the final.
This was the first season with Gigi Simoni in charge at the club, and the man who would become one of the club’s most successful managers began his playing career in the youth ranks of Fiorentina back in 1955. Cremonese this time managed to survive in Serie A and as Fiorentina topped Serie B the stage was set for the two clubs to clash again in the 1994/95 campaign.
Cremonese travelled to Florence early in the season as the sides met on day three. Fiorentina had beaten Cagliari and drawn at Genoa, while Cremonese had lost to Parma but won against Napoli. Fiorentina now had Francesco Toldo in goal, who had joined the previous season in Serie B, and Manuel Rui Costa had made his debut for the club a week earlier.
Sandro Cois was another new player in the side, but it was defender Daniele Carnasciali who opened the scoring after 14 minutes. A corner from Anselmo Robbiati was poorly cleared by the Cremonese defence, Francesco Baiano tried a shot which was blocked but Carnasciali was quick to pounce on the loose ball to beat Luigi Turci in goal.
It took just a couple of minutes for the visitors to level the game when Matjaž Florijančič’s shot came off the crossbar and Andrea Tentoni forced it home. Three minutes later and Claudio Ranieri’s side retook the lead, this time Batistuta firing home a rocket of a free kick from distance. Just before the hour mark and it was Batigol again who ensured the win with a splendid goal. Carnasciali sent in a cross, and the Argentinian bomber coordinated himself perfectly to send a beautiful volley on the turn past Turci who could only stand and admire.
It was February when Fiorentina travelled to Cremona and with just over half the season played, Cremonese were outside the relegation zone but only by one point. Fiorentina were up in sixth place, but 12 points behind leaders Juventus. In the Cremonese side for both games was a future Fiorentina striker, Enrico Chiesa. On loan from Sampdoria, having scored 14 with Modena in Serie B the previous season, by February he had only netted three times.
Neither he nor Batistuta could break the deadlock in Cremona and the game ended scoreless, but Chiesa would end the season with 14 goals. This was well behind Bati’s 26, but it was enough to convince Sampdoria to bring him back. His goals also went a long way to helping Cremonese survive too, as they finished just a point ahead of relegated Genoa.
1995/96 was Cremonese’s third consecutive season in Serie A, but it would also be their last, until now. The final game between the sides was another scoreless draw in Cremona in February 1996, but they played out a slightly more entertaining match in Florence earlier that season. On October 1st it was day five of the season and while Fiorentina had won both their home games but lost at Vicenza and Parma, Cremonese had just one point from their opening four games.
Fiorentina had lost 3-0 at Parma the week before, and Batistuta was yet to score since the new season began. His poor condition was blamed on a summer spent playing with Argentina at the Copa America, but this was still Batigol, and he wouldn’t be kept quiet for long. After a couple of early attempts at creating a chance by Cremonese, the first half seemed destined to finish scoreless, but five minutes from the break Fiorentina found the breakthrough. Stefan Schwartz had signed from Arsenal that summer, and it was the Swede’s cross from the right which landed perfectly for another new signing; defender Pasquale Padalino arrived from Foggia, and he found his way unmarked at the back post to stroke the ball past Turci.
Now that the deadlock had been broken, there was time for two more goals before the interval. Cremonese were back on level terms two minutes after Fiorentina took the lead when Florijančič crossed from the right wing. The ball was headed on by Tentoni and Maspero let it bounce before rifling it to the roof of the net. With just a minute left in the half Fiorentina managed to get their noses in front before the break. Sandro Cois had the first attempt, but his shot came back off the crossbar, Batistuta was there to head it back on goal but Turci managed to scramble it away but this time Ciccio Baiano finally converted.
Still time for some more action before the sides went back down the tunnel, with Rui Costa committing a bad foul on Stefano De Agostini. Lucky not to be booked, he went to apologise to the injured player as he was stretchered off, after the referee needed to divide the two sets of players. De Agostini wouldn’t appear for the second half and in his place, Enrico Fantini entered the field. Fantini’s future would see him become a Fiorentina hero with his goals in the play-off against Perugia which took us back to Serie A. Back in 1995 he was a Juventus player, where he had come through the youth ranks, and now on loan at Cremonese. He had made one appearance for Marcello Lipp’s Juve in Serie A the previous season, which makes him a part of their Scudetto winning squad.
After the break, Batistuta had another chance to open his account for the season, but on a rebound from a Baiano effort his shot was blocked on the line by a defender after Turci got a hand to it. Bati held his head in his hands, unable to believe he had missed what looked a straightforward opportunity. Another chance came on the hour mark, and this time the Fiorentina idol made no mistake. Toldo sent a long ball towards the opposition area, Bati gave chase leaving Luigi Garzya in his wake, and with Turci advancing from his line he tucked the ball under his dive and finally he could race to the Fiesole to celebrate, before heading to the dugout for a hug with Ranieri.
At 3-1 and time running out, the win seemed safe, but Cremonese never gave up and Toldo was called into action by the two future Fiorentina players Maspero and Fantini. After Turci made a fine save from a Batistuta free kick, in the final minute the visitors made sure it would still be a nervy ending to the game. Tentoni beat the poor offside trap set by the Viola backline and with Toldo rushing towards him he rolled the ball across the box for Fantini who had the simplest of tasks with an open goal to shoot at from the penalty spot. Fiorentina held on for the win, and this would turn out to be Enrico Fantini’s only ever goal scored in Serie A.
Once that 1995/96 season ended, with another relegation for Cremonese, Fantini’s next experience in the Italian top tier would come with Fiorentina in 2004. In what was a tough return to Serie A for the Viola, Fantini was unable to find the net in 24 appearances, when even Javier Portillo managed to get on the score sheet.
For Cremonese, relegation from Serie A was swiftly followed by another to Serie C1. The long Luzzara era came to an end, with the club hitting financial difficulties. They were in C2 at the same time as Fiorentina in 2002, albeit in a different group, and after one season in Serie B in 2005 they only made their return to the second tier in 2017. They had some play-off heartbreak in between, including losing the final in 2008, when Davide Astori was at the club on loan from Milan.
There were a couple of former Fiorentina players in that squad, William Viali and Michele Bacis, along with the son of Luigi Radice, Ruggero. There was also a player in the Cremonese side, from Cremona, by the name of Michele Cremonesi. The manager in that 2007/08 season was Emiliano Mondonico. The man who, along with Fantini, took Fiorentina back to Serie A, returned to where it all started for him as both a player and manager. Mondonico also holds the record for number of goals scored for the club, and will always be remembered as the manager who took Cremonese back to Serie A in 1984
Those first two seasons back in Serie B from 2017 saw the arrival of Gaetano Castrovilli on loan from Fiorentina, and after finishing in mid-table the following two seasons, last season finally brought them promotion. This time the last day of the season brought celebrations, as they overtook Monza with a win over Como, both goals coming from former Fiorentina player Samuel Di Carmine.
Di Carmine will have plenty of competition for a place in the Cremonese attack this season, with the arrival of David Okereke who was with Venezia last season, now signed from Club Bruges. Another player coming from a Belgian club is another Nigerian international, with the signing of Cyriel Dessers from Genk, having spent last season on loan at Feyenoord.
There is one more game to take a look at, which is actually the last time the sides met. This was a friendly game at Moena before the 2013/14 season. Cremonese were a third tier side at the time, but were no match for a Fiorentina side which contained the likes of Neto, Facundo Roncaglia, Juan Cuadrado, Giuseppe Rossi, Adem Ljajić, Marcos Alonso, Joaquín, Borja Valero, Massimo Ambrosini, and the newly arrived Mario Gómez.
Fiorentina ran out 7-1 winners, with both Gómez and Pepito Rossi scoring two each, Ljajić grabbed one and we were also treated to the rare sight of Ahmed Hegazy and Oleksandr Iakovenko scoring. Andrea Brighenti scored Cremonese’s only goal.
It’s always great to see a club return to Serie A after a long time away, especially when they are a reminder of that Eighties/Nineties period of Italian football. The current Cremonese manager is Massimiliano Alvini, who grew up attending games at the Franchi and supporting his local team, Fiorentina.
His managerial career began in his native Tuscany, where he took charge of Signa, Quarrata, Tuttocuoio, and Pistoiese, before moving on to AlbinoLeffe, Reggiana and Perugia. Alvini took Perugia to the Serie B play-offs last season, and now after a career which began over 20 years ago as a manager in the seventh tier of Italian football, Massimiliano Alvini has arrived in Serie A, chosen to replace Fabio Pecchia who left to take over at Parma. While we give a warm welcome back to US Cremonese, let’s hope the Grigiorossi record of never winning away to Fiorentina continues.